Feds Move to Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana Blends

Nov 24, 2010

The DEA announced today that it will temporarily classify five synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana as Schedule 1 drugs, meaning they have no medical value, a high potential for abuse, and will be illegal to sell, purchase, or use. (Marijuana itself, as many of us are already well aware, is also classified as a Schedule 1 drug).

The move comes after more than a dozen states nationwide have passed bans on the herbal blends, which go by names such as “Spice” and “K2,” and — while advertised as “not for human consumption” — were sold in smoke shops around the country and used by customers as a legal alternative to marijuana. The products generally do not show up on drug tests, but there have been various reports of them causing adverse health effects, including accelerated heart rates, increased blood pressure, and several documented trips to the emergency room.

As I have argued before, the prevalence of these substances is simply another unintended consequence of the government’s irrational prohibition on natural, whole-plant marijuana, which comes with none of the side effects attributed to these chemical knock-offs. The DEA’s ban on the five synthetic versions could take effect in 30 days and last for at least a year, but as I’ve said before, the bans on fake marijuana will ultimately be as ineffective as the ban on real marijuana (used by 17 million Americans monthly, despite its Schedule 1 status) and could lead users and suppliers to begin experimenting with other, possibly more dangerous synthetic variants that mimic marijuana’s effects.

In September, I wrote a more detailed article for the Huffington Post explaining my thoughts on K2 bans. Here’s an excerpt:

All this K2 nonsense is simply one more reason — alongside more important issues like sensible law enforcement, personal liberty, racial justice, and potential tax revenue — why America needs a legal, regulated marijuana market. Whereas the full health effects of K2 are largely unknown because they haven’t been studied, marijuana is perhaps the most studied plant in history — one that a former DEA judge once called “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” In a regulated market, consumers would know exactly what they’re purchasing and putting into their bodies. This is not the case when somebody buys K2 — or one of its various knockoffs — that’s been sprayed onto some mystery plant matter.

I don’t have a solid opinion one way or the other as to whether K2 should be banned or regulated like other drugs. But I do know this: The only reason anyone uses K2 and not marijuana is because K2 is legal and marijuana is not. It’s as simple as that. Make marijuana legal, and few, if any, consumers will waste their time seeking out K2.

It’s for this reason that K2 bans are misguided, because they don’t address the core issue: millions of Americans want to use marijuana, or something that will mimic its effects, and if they’re afraid about illegal means of doing so, they will continue to seek out legal alternatives. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that in states where K2 has been banned, merchants have simply changed its name, altered its chemical makeup slightly, and continued to sell it to customers. That’s right: people in those states are now seeking legal alternatives to the legal alternative to marijuana. And round and round we go.

29 responses to “Feds Move to Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana Blends”

  1. my sister works at a porn shop and they recently started selling this stuff. i think it is horrible. it makes me very on edge and worsens my anxiety. marijuana does the complete opposite. this stuff, to me anyways, is like the anti-marijuana.

    however, putting it in schedule I without any scientific studies and only anecdotal evidence is extremely irresponsible and downright wrong.

  2. I am not a fan of this stuff, but since cannabis is illegal and I don’t want to jeopardize my family, I use it as medicine for my medical problems. I do have a prescription for Dronabinol, but it barely alleviates my complications.

    I was hoping to utilize the synthetic versions until I am able to find out if I am applicable for medical cannabis (medical cannabis won’t be available for several months since AZ just passed Prop 203). This is not good news for me or anyone.

  3. nick thats right bs,
    ha ha ditto,
    jinx amen to that,
    and trogo dont smoke that crap save your life bro the government cant mess with you if your smoking carefully cannabis though not k2 or synthetic it will kill you and sure as hell aint gonna help save your self and smoke herb dont deny yourself just be careful and protect your family
    much love

  4. I appreciate the advice syl, but by comparison, the synthetic cannabis is still better than some of my previous prescriptions. Unless I am able to get a medical cannabis recommendation in the coming year, I won’t be utilizing it for pain management or other medically recommended uses.

    Also, while I appreciate the encouragement to not consume K2, Spice, Dronabinol, etc. as an opinion, I take issue with the allusion that those products “will kill you”. Rhetoric like that is what gives less harmful substances, topics, issues, or anything you can imagine, into a negative spotlight of ignorance that is difficult to escape. But, that’s just my opinion.

  5. Note to self. Stock up on K2 this weekend. The government makes great black markets. Now people are going to get rich selling this as well.

    Prohibition doesn’t work. To keep spending $26 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR on a failed program is a crime in itself.

  6. “….products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.”

    They are going to study the facts. What a surprise!

  7. OK i for one am i lil pissed about this i find it not only harsh but cruel to the human population for this to happen. taking away weed is one thing it understandable but again the government fucked up. Marijuana has numerous medical relevants even in a scientific term. but now they r going to take away stuff that people were too fucking stupid not to read a label? i find this all to be too bothersome.

  8. “Jailing people for the mild alteration of their consciousness will appear to future generations as cruel and draconian as the tortures of the Inquisition appear to us today. May the reputations of today’s jailers suffer the same fate as Torquemada’s reputation today.” – Peter Coyote, Actor

  9. Why hasn’t MPP reported on the arrest of Willie Nelson or the fact that he started a new Marijuana Activism association, called the TeaPot Party on FACEBOOK.

    This WAS and IS national news so what gives MPP?

    I thought YOU were on top of things?

  10. Never heard of this stuff. What exactly do they spray on the unidentified plant matter & what is the plant matter they typically use? How much does it sell for & what are the effects? You can bet the manufacturers of this crap are against legalization of the real thing, just like anyone else profiting from keeping cannabis illegal, (ie: medical MJ dispensories such as Cannacare).

  11. Nice article. It’s time to stop wasting time and valuable money and manpower on a plant that was made illegal because they BS”d everyone into believing it made Negroes and Mexicans rape white women. Sure it does. WAKE UP to this lying madness. 40 Billion dollars a year so the college kids can binge drink, smoke gas station crap and chugg cough syrup? heck, let’s have a govt sponsosed death stick and some sippin’ whisky and go plow a school bus. STOP THE WAR

  12. So how many liberties and freedoms shall we the people give up to this constructive fraud that the wayward government has yoked us with? How many beyond the 900,000 for cannabis will be be adding to our so called criminal justice system for K2? At what point do we the people get a government by the people, for the people? Just how much shit will true Americans take before they have had enough of these fools? I don’t know about the rest of you but for me it was yesterday, today I am one pissed off American. Give me Liberty!, or give me Death!, but quit yankin my dam chain.

  13. I think you all should concider the original Bud! I hear that there is alot of chemicals im that stuff.
    I’m an Old Timer and use it medicinely.
    Ain’t nothing like the real thing!

  14. Ya, I also feel that legalization is the way to go. You would think that it would be obvious to everyone that makes the legal drugs, the pharmaceuticals, that there are people that just want a legal way to alter there state of mind with out the side effects, physical, mental, or legal. There are those that just want to escape, if just for a moment, after work or any other of life’s stressful situations. why is that wrong? You are right “Jon” the world did not end because people got high. funny how that worked out, right? there are two kinds of people in the world, those that feel they have to control everyone and force them to live the way they do, and then there are those that say live and let live.

  15. Read the fine print.
    Congress can make no law based upon false premise;
    Congress can not enact law based upon false premise;
    Congress can not enforce law that was based upon false premise!
    It is that simple. Science proves medicinal use of cannabinoids,
    Nazi style public control techniques enforce no medicinal use laws legislated under false premise in violation of the basic premise
    We hold these truths to be self evident that all men have the inalienable right of life liberty and pursuit of happiness. Nothing else needs to be said do what must be done or pay the price forver. Oy Veh!
    El Jibaro De Lytle Creek

  16. It’s very simple. It doesn’t matter if this was a damn opium plant either way Uncle Sam has NO business regulating, controlling, banning anything anymore. We KNOW we ALL KNOW that Uncle Sam abuses his citizens and as we have seen in the past decade simply cannot and MUST not be trusted with such things anymore. And it’s high time to dismantle the DEA, ban military weapons for police just to start with.
    This and the continuing propaganda from Uncle Sam is so he and his brethren can keep their jobs……. illegally. Remember all of these “laws” (which they are not btw) is to raise money for the general fund and help the sick AND to reduce the need therefor saving lots of tax dollars from law enforcement.

  17. I feel that the Feds can spend their time on research and really find out what it does for people maybe it will be handled in a better way.
    What good is the constitution if you can take and add to it when you want. don’t go after the ones that need it medically get the ones that’s doing illicitly giving it to our young kids.

  18. Once an issue gets politicized, truth and rational thought become insignificant. As involved and interested as I am, that sense of cynicism and discouragement prevails. But no, I will not shrug my shoulders in apathy. Fight, stand strong, communicate, challenge, defend, educate and never, ever, give up.

  19. 1. FOLLOW THE MONEY. Legalize cannabis and millions will not be spent by law enforcement. Who loses money? DEA and Border Patrol.
    2. FOLLOW THE FEAR. With cannabis legal DEA and Border Patrol have to go after the well armed coke, meth and heroin guys. It’s safer to go after cannabis grows: easy duty. I understand fear but I despise hypocricy.

  20. Hello my friends and don’t be surprised about Big Brothers actions. After all you must remember that what our ancestors fought for in the past is in the past…those dreams washed away little by little as time went by and the years passed away sweeping those beautiful thoughts of Life liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We no longer have that luxury expecially since one of those that came before turned out to be a zealot of massive degrees and with the help of the government managed to sway the world to see eye to eye with him expecially since he also had a blank check to give to any government that was willing to climb into the band wagon with him. And his name was “Anslinger”. First Drug Zsar of the U S government and the man to launch the war against marijuana and alcohol. I always got the impression from his propaganda machines that he always resented blacks from having sex with white women , which was why he always pushed that one point ahead in his campaigns. Sad to say his legacy still lives on. Congressmen, judges, lawenforcement, and mayors sad to say enjoy the use of harder drugs and their the ones passing judgement on us who just use weed. They make the laws but they stay inside their boundries to make sure they don’t get caught up in their own traps. The people are no longer in control friends sad to say, the government has become an entity with no master and no one to answer to, that’s why the will of the people no longer matters..

  21. I agree with Nolo Contendry. If you can use a search for info or topic on your cable television, search marijuana. Since Arizona passed Prop 203 the number of old, dated, lying scare “news” programs being hauled out and re-run is outrageous. “Ganja Queen Gets 20 Years.” You are absolutely right Nolo: never give up. And if they keep showing this garbage we need to write to networks and news channels to show us every damn detail of what DEA and Border Patrol spend their funding on and videotape proof that they destroy what they confiscate. Let’s see what GAO comes up with when they investigate how the AZ Border Patrol pays their officers to shack up with someone living next to a citizen who used to smoke weed and has loudly questioned BP’s integrity. Oh yeah: Believe it. Dirty As The Day Is Long.

  22. This whole situation is sad, and horrible. I have cerebral palsy and scholiosis (should be 5’9″ only 5’2″), blind in one eye, degenerative joint disease and on and on. So yeah, I could use it. Heck, insurance won’t even pay for crutches or something to help me in and out of the tub. Got a bad L5 and T8(?), elbows, ankles, hips, you name it. Mass of scar tissue. Dr.: We can’t do anything for you, but you can take these pain pills. Who wants to sleep their life away.

    My whole point is: If I have it so bad, and it’s documented, why won’t someone come to my rescue? LOLOL I know a LOT of people worse off than me and they cant get medicinal either.

    P.S. I have the flu now, as I could not afford crutches and the like, I surely could not justify a flu shot. OH! Almost forgot… broke one of my crutches last week when I fell irritated the T8 badly. Get I’m screwed into staying home for a while. Wish I could just afford a lil weed too but that is also out of the question. So when you gentleman and ladies light up tonight, hit it once for me (living vicariously through you all) 🙂 Peace!

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